It will be done, he says
That was an interesting week, that week that was, and it started with what quite a bang. That’s if you accept that Sunday is the start of the week, which, for some funny reason, is what has lodged itself in the recesses of my mind.
It is, I need hardly add, the interview with Anġlu Farrugia to which I refer, the one which blew out of the water that which I called, during my appearance ‘at the unearthly hour of’ on TVAM on Wednesday, Joseph Muscat’s USP, his Unique Selling Point.
Actually, I was wrong, the interview blew two USPs out of the water but you can’t have two unique things, it’s oxymoronic, though it did that anyway.
Firstly, it dispelled, once and for all, this rather twee notion that Muscat’s party, no longer using the word Labour as it does (not) and certainly not called the MLP, has no support within the ranks of the (previously) reviled contractors or within the (again previously) scorned business community.
That is quite clearly no longer the case, not that I’ve ever believed that it was but, at least, we can be spared the tired old jibes. My worthy opponent on telly on Wednesday did try to slip in a reference to jolly yachting holidays and, to my shame, I totally neglected to riposte that jolly yachting holidays were quite the preferred form of R’n’R for no less a pair of MLP stalwarts as Dom Mintoff and Karmenu Vella.
So, folks, there you have it. Farrugia has put to bed once and for all the “we are Labour, we are of the people” myth that has been propagated since time immemorial. Muscat’s party is good buddies with big business and its friends are people whose friends are friends of friends. Bad thing? Good thing? I’m not passing judgement, merely pointing out that Labour can’t get holier than thou aboutthis anymore.
In fact, I have this nagging feeling that, having played the chaste maiden for so long, Muscat’s party’s headlong plunge into what they have heretofore classed as iniquity is going to be quite traumatic.
Secondly, Farrugia also provided us with quite a stark reminder that Muscat’s bright wide smile does little to shield anyone from the effects of his ambition.
That Muscat is ambitious is no bad thing, of course, and it would be naive to think he was some sort of shrinking violet but the way Farrugia was dealt with betrays the extent to which ruth is absent from Muscat’s make-up.
Again, a degree of ruthlessness (now do you get the reference to ‘ruth’?) is to be expected in someone in Muscat’s position but it is salutary that we’ve been reminded how greatly endowed with it he is, at least from his erstwhile colleague’s point of view.
Combining his manner of dispensing with his liabilities with the “Me, Me Me” Muscat-centric nature of his campaign results in an image that is not a million miles from being not warm and cuddly at all. Add to this mix his apparently unshakeable conviction that he has a solution for everything under the sun and a choice plum to pluck out of the pie for everyone who can vote for him and you start wondering whether comparisons with certain types of historical figures would be entirely out of place.
Not to be uncharitable, but references to Second Republics and very, very keen use of lecterns, podia (is that the plural of podiums?) and other height-enhancing devices such as platforms don’t detract from the temptation to wonder to what the sum total of this man’s parts amounts. Or from speculating about his own perception of his place in history.
Working on the assumption - dato ma non concesso, to put it in legalese - that Muscat’s ambitions will be realised, it’s going to be interesting to watch him catch all those balls as they come plummeting down towards his noggin.
He’s going to have to reconcile the promises made to the LGBT community with the inherent conservatism of mainstream Labour voters. The dismemberment of the Malta Environmental and Planning Authority, satisfying as it may be to those who wish to sweep away barriers to development, is going to have to be countered by efforts to pay the piper to whose tune the green and conservationist trendies dance.
The obligations of adherence to public procurement rules designed to promote transparency in the nation’s governance, about which his Lil’Elves and Peculiar Pundits have been oh, so vociferous, will have to be somehow cast aside in order to build that shiny new power station that some kindly plutocrat is going to give us within the 24 months that has been pledged, failing which Muscat will resign.
This will be done, that will be done, the other will be done and everything else will be done too, the courts will be reformed, the people will decide, the Constitution will be changed, VAT will be refunded, electricity will be given away, you’ll be paid to consume it, your kids will be get an iPad (but only in Year IV) and you can sleep all night because night-tariffs are no longer part of the solution, they’re part of the problem.
Looking internally, Muscat is going to have to conjure up some pretty creative names for the various ministries he’s going to have to create, both to satisfy the ambitions of his star candidates and to make good on the promises he’s making to have a ministry for this, that and the other, not to mention the yet-another and the yet-another-other.
In short, having promised to be all things to all men and to all women and, just to make a totally politically incorrect pun, anyone in between (come on, it’s only a joke), Muscat is going to have to writethe cheques.
The only problem is that we’re going to have to honour those cheques for him.